Friday 23 May 2014


The Land Reform Report's recommendations were published on the Scottish Government web site this morning, containing over 60 recommendations; many of which are likely to affect SGA members, if implemented.
Read Chairman Alex Hogg's comments below.

SGA Chairman Alex Hogg said: “The Scottish Gamekeepers Association will consider fully the detail of the report.
“Despite seeking clarification from Scottish Ministers that the jobs of our rural working members would be protected in a system placing far greater emphasis on state and community ownership, we have never received any guarantees this would be the case. 
“While some of the proposals are sensible, there is no denying this is a state-centred programme of recommendations which, if implemented, would greatly discourage private investment in Scotland.
“Naturally, this will place a major burden on Scottish tax payers as we seek to re-circulate a smaller pot of money. If the state cannot foot the cost, our members’ jobs on the hills and rivers are at stake and, in our view, the wildlife Scotland treasures will be threatened.

“When gamekeepers were taken off Langholm Moor in the Scottish Borders, all wildlife, both predator and prey, crashed, and it has since taken millions of pounds and years of effort to restore the heather habitat alone. We hope Scottish Ministers consider these major proposals carefully and take into consideration the massive contribution Scotland’s rural workforce makes to the country’s economy and natural heritage.”

To access the full report: click

Tuesday 20 May 2014



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Thursday 15 May 2014


The SGA is asking that members, who are able to, help SNH with research into traps and general licences (see SNH media release below).
Scottish Natural Heritage is asking members of game keeping and land management organisations to help with research about corvids (crows, magpies, rooks, jackdaws, jays) and general licences.
SNH has commissioned Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) to research how and where corvid traps are currently used in Scotland, how different trap types operate in different situations, and their effectiveness.  The research will also measure the risk of welfare issues and of non-target captures. 
The British Association of Shooting and Conservation (BASC) Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) Scottish Land and Estates (SLE) GWCT and National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFUS) are supporting the work and asking their members to cooperate. This follows consultation in 2013 with relevant interest groups.
Ben Ross, SNH’s licensing manager, said, “We are committed to making general licences better. We recognise the huge amount of knowledge and experience that practitioners hold, and want to learn from it.
“We want to make sure that users can carry out control in the most effective ways with minimal risks to welfare or other species and to make sure that licences are robust and fair.  We also want to promote a better understanding about why general licences are used, and how they’re important tools in conservation and land management.”
Among the 14 general licenses currently operating in 2014 are four that relate to the control of common corvid birds.  The general licences list the reasons why these birds may be killed: conserving wild birds; preventing serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables and fruit; preserving public health, public safety and preventing the spread of disease; and protecting air safety.  They specify conditions, including authorised trap design, standards for welfare of decoy and captured birds and tagging of traps to identify the operator. 
The work will have several stages, starting with a questionnaire to  registered users of corvid traps, conducted by GWCT.  This will look at when, why and how corvid traps are currently used in Scotland.  Later stages of the work will include field studies of how different traps are used in practice. 
Under Scotland’s wildlife law, all wild bird species are protected, but the control of some species is permitted by authorised persons and regulated by general licences.  They cover situations that are relatively common and where there is unlikely to be any great conservation impact, such as preserving public health or air safety and preventing the spread of disease.  Their purpose is to allow birds to be effectively managed when there is clear need.  The licenses avoid the need for individual licensing, but they do include strict conditions about how they must be used. SNH regularly reviews and revises general licences to ensure they are easy to understand, up-to-date and fit for purpose.



Scottish Gamekeepers Association Firearms Representative Allan Hodgson said: “No one at The Scottish Gamekeepers Association would want to see people suffer through air gun misuse. 
However, we feel this measure, which was rejected by nearly 90 per cent of those consulted by Scottish government, will be felt more by the law-abiding working people and recreational shooters who use air guns for legitimate purposes rather than the criminals it is meant to stop. There is already sufficient control written into firearms legislation to cover criminal acts.
“It will also place an even heavier resource and financial burden on Police Scotland who- we know from experience- already have their hands full coping with the workload of the present firearms licensing arrangements.
“At a time when gun crime has fallen dramatically, it is unfortunate that the Minister has ignored the clear will demonstrated by the consultation and used his devolved power to force an unwanted layer of bureaucracy upon legitimate firearms users and sporting enthusiasts.”